Monday, August 5, 2013


A few nights ago, I went to pick up the mail wearing a bright pink women's polo shirt.  It was pretty hot out and since I was alone, I had removed my sweaty shirt when I got home.  I didn't think it wise to go out wearing a cami so I put on that shirt.

It's a polo, but in a brighter colour than most men's shirts.  It lacked buttons whereas I've never seen a men's polo without buttons, always the same medium-size 3 or 4 buttons.  It was a different material and the adjusters on the cami were visible from the back, if anyone was looking for them.

It's close to passable, but I wouldn't wear it while in drab to a civilian event.  For a few moments in a (possibly empty) lobby, getting mail, it wasn't a huge deal.  I did hesitate to wear it out, thought about the situation, and looked at worst-case scenarios, just because that's what I always do.

This is a polo shirt.  Just a polo shirt.

Polo shirts are menswear that were adopted by women.  A woman can pick up any men's polo off the rack and wear it without a second thought or second glance.

If I want a polo shirt I can wear when in drab, I have to consider
* colour.  And it has to be not only "acceptable" but solid.  Even striped men's polos are fringe.
* sleeve length.  No cap, not even too short sleeves, although a bit short is passable these days.
* sleeve style.  Simple hem.  No fancy buttons, elastic, slits, ruffle, or anything else vaguely interesting.
* pockets.  Zero or one pocket, on the left side.  Too small a pocket doesn't work either.  Nothing super fancy, like a button on the pocket.
* waist.  Like sleeves, a simple hem.
* collar.  Turn-down collar has to conform to normal button-down shirt collar style.  3-5 buttons, all "normal" shirt size.  No oversize buttons, or row of tiny buttons or snaps,  or drawstring, or anything else you can imagine.
* torso.  Can't have any darts.  Can't be too short.  Must be "normal" cotton; no see-thru material, or silk/poly, or anything else.
* badge.  The polo horse, or designer initials (or frog on a cart) is OK.  A little flower or teddy bear or whatever the designer has lying around?  Sorry.  No.

It's a polo shirt!  It started in the men's department!

And that's the point of this rant.  It's a shirt.  Men wear shirts.  Women wear shirts.  Men have a choice of one style, a dozen colours.  Women have at least ten choices in each category I listed above, and hundreds of colour/pattern choices.  I'd conservatively estimate a billion possible shirts.

I have a bit more to say on this, but that'll be tomorrow.


  1. Meg -

    And one of my female friends wonders why I can't brighten up my wardrobe (en-homme) as much as I can with my wardrobe (en-femme)....


  2. As I read this I am wearing one of my work polo shirts, it is a sort of karki green, short sleeve, three button (which are never done up), but does have a very small breast pocket (left hand side) with a button down flap and a small braid feature. I bought these because they match the image I want to portray of my business, not only did they come from the men's department, they came from the men's department of a workwear supplier. A polo is just a polo ~ relax

  3. Thanks for the rant Meg. You said what is on my mind on this topic, but you detailed it so much better than I would have.

  4. something like when my wife gets confused if the underwear I have on that day are women's panties or mens underwear. I ask her "what's the diffrence" - Julie


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